Steelfest is known for the sonic pleasure of the most obscure and brutal bands sharing two stages. The festival once again had an extremely strong line-up offering killer bands from the front lines of the death/black metal genre from below and above the underground. Even though the festival is kind of small, it has an intimate feel. All those ones attending the fest definitely know what to expect to witness during these two days. The normal weekend metal maniacs are more or less rare to be seen at the festival. Steelfest is hailed as one of the greatest festivals with all extreme bands on the bill. It was a huge pleasure to see the crowd from abroad at the fest. The Metal-Rules.com team spent the whole weekend at Steelfest, witnessing killer bands… All Hail \,,/
By Arto Lehtinen and Timo Hanhirova
Necrowretch was supposed to perform at Steelfest in the previous events. Thankfully the French extreme metallers made it to Finland. Being on the main outdoor stage under the burning sun might not the most suitable place for this raw outburst. Besides that, the sounds weren’t that balanced and caused a bit challenging situation to make out of the band’s raging performance.
Zuriaake hailing China turned out to be extremely interesting act on the bill. At least some die-hard chinese black metal worshippers had praised in advance. Therefore the interest toward the band was on the high level. The character showed up as dressed up with the clothes based on the Chinese culture and mythology. For obvious reason Zuriaake ladles all the musical and lyrical influences from the culture of their own. Seeing that kind of a bit of exotic black metal band at Steelfest was definitely refreshing as well as interesting. Zuriaake had drawn a nice crowd to dig and witness the ancient Chinese mythologies. The band’s kind of dark metal with the obvious black metal vibes sounded bombastic, even though the sounds were out of tune time-to-time. The whole performance by them was definitely capturing making the one listen to their albums
Purtenance hit the Finnish death metal scene In the early 90’s, when the death metal was dominating in the underground scene. As usual the combo split up after the debut album saw the light of day in 1992. Purtenance got back together a few years and have unleashed a couple of newer outputs. The Finnish death metal veterans mostly focused on the material off from the debut album at Steelfest. The line-up had been backed up by the Flames guitarist bringing more action on the stage. However Purtenance’ set was kind of resurrection of an old corpse to get the stench of the rotten spread out.
Sargeist appearing at these types of extreme metal festivals is more or less common. The black horde have visited Steelfest a few years back. However the band’s line-up has undergone radical changes as the Behexen frontman had dismissed from the line-up, all in all members of Desolate Shrine had been recruited to Sargeist. Quite simple for sure. The current front from Desolate Shrine sounded grim and evil for sure, but somehow the band was having the lousy sounds. However Sargeist offered the roots of all evilness.
Thyrane pulled the plug in the mid of the 2000 and spent years and years by sleeping on laurels It is said don’t wake a sleeping giant. However the band got resurrected last year and now made to Steelfest, The Northernmost black metal crusaders basically focused on the material off from BLACK HARMONY output that was reissued some time ago. Thyrane’s old material is godly and awesome and it ain’t any wonder why the band raged thru it. The vocalist’s voice is raw and brutal. Hopefully the band will stay together and be able to put another killer as BLACK HARMONY.
Shape Of Despair offered the doom metal lesson on the indoor stage. The band’s slow and deep doomy metal sounded instead pretty good because of the slower doom tempo. Besides the normal deep death growling, the female vocalist brought a nice contrast.
Firespawn could be described as one kind of all-star-combo consisting of members from Entombed (A.D), Unleashed, Dark Funeral etc etc. As it is widely amongst the death metal freaks L.G. Petrov takes care of the growling. Even though the band has released a couple of albums by now, but to be honest it is kinda hard to find nuances and that catchy hooks in the stuff. However the playing was tight and the sounds were brutal crushing. The frontman L.G Petrov is definitely one hell of a showman, joking and living up to the music.
Nightbringer suffered from the terrible sound quality in the beginning, resulting the listening to them turned out to be quite painful. However the second singer having kind of lookalike of a twisted evil priest along with another singer shared the vocal duties and the grim ear piercing guitar sounds definitely were torture. However Nightbringer should have the better sound quality as their nihilistic black metal would have been an utter pleasant to follow the rest of the gig.
Marduk has been on the march of death by delivering the whole HEAVEN SHALL BURN album for a while. Even though the album is considered as one hell of a black metal classic, but Marduk definitely has a huge catalogue of great songs and great albums. However Morgan and the company unleashed a brutal intensive set of raw uncompromising black metal. Even though Marduk has been spreading the blasphemic hymns since the early 90’s and still gigging in every corner of the world, the band still gives and sacrifice themselves 110 % on the stage such as at Steelfest. The frontman Mortuus is an insane dominating one keeping the control thru the whole show. Though Marduk have been blasting the raw black metal nearly 30 years, but they wont slow down.
Peste Noir hailing from France seems to attract to the crowd having a bit political aspects and standpoints. The frontman’s political aspects are based on more political anarchy. The combo definitely has the more underground following in the certain catacombs of the underground. Of course the right wing could be witnessed amongst the audience. The songs with a bit rockish riffs filled with the raw black metal elements caused the feeling of the ecstasy resulting a few fistfights. That fury that hate brought by Peste Noir in the performance was mindblowing, even though the combo doesn’t rely on those typical and traditional black metal gimmicks. Peste Noir is simply, but still presenting the anarchic outburst and anger.
Kalmankantaja being a local black metal band, kicked the second day off. The band’s grim blackish yet melodic approach. The ethereal and melodic songs sounded catchy and magical. The vocalist’s dry delivery with the trademark of the essential black metal aspect fitted to the style and the stuff. When checking out the band’s album catalogue, as it is definitely stunning with all in all ten albums in a row since 2013.
Anal Blasphemy was responsible for giving the performance of the humour by dragging kind of mad butcher lookalike figure and above all a couple of chicks. As for those chicks, their role was to please the singer who was pretending to be some sort of a priest with twisted and perverted minds. Finally the chicks got undressed. Anal Blasphemy’s aim was to create the blasphemic feeling and desecrate different religions. When following their act on the stage, it was more funny and entertaining as well as the second-hand embarrassment.
Fin being a two man out of The States. Well following the performance of this combo was quite dull, the guitarist/vocalist rather stood in the darkest corner on the stage. The biggest difference between FIN and for example Inquisition, Dakon literally takes over the whole stage with his strong role. The FIN duet still process and develop the stage performance to have more catchy aspect. As for the stuff. the band definitely delivers the great sounding grim black metal
Cut Up is basically the continuation for Vomitory which pulled the plug a few years ago. Cut Up has got a couple of albums out by now and relies on the older death metal approach. The stuff by Cut Up sounds and is still pulverizing yet technical. Instead the band’s stage manner and performance was a bit boring and more or less on the standard level of normal headbanging. Cut Up has to be re-checked in a smaller indoor venue.
Scepticism’s stuff is slower than normal funeral doom metal in general. Above all, the term “funeral” fits the band’s visual aspects. They arrived on stage with the funeral-looking clothes and placed roses on the monitors. Scepticism is super doomy stuff and playing this metal properly and with dedicated passion demands a real professional fanaticism. The band received the good respond.
Lvcifyre was brutal, sadistic, raw, nihistic and barbaric. Needles to say more… !
Sinister is one of those death metal bands having released the debut album back in the early 90’s and then hassled with various line-up changes and other issues. The long time and surviving member Aad Kloosterwaard still keeps pushing Sinister forward. The old Dutch death metal squad did a solid gig by giving a lesson of how death metal is supposed to sound with the brutal gut growling. The five piece’s deadly death metal was definitely welcomed choice amongst several black metal compos.
Enthroned off from Belgium has also a long, but colorful history behind. Already started out in the early 90’s after the demise of other bands such as Blasphemerion. Enthroned has wandered a long way and unleashed a bunch of albums by now. Even though Enthroned didn’t get catapulted to another level of the success, but however the Enthroned’s was the blasting extreme black metal with some death metal grips here and there.
Mgla is definitely one of the biggest underground bands recording for Northern Heritage and playing on main stages at major festivals. Mgla got catapulted to the level of the immersive success during the past few years. Mgla’s stuff definitely sounded bombastic and even the darkening night and lights created and brought the more grim vibe to the gig. Mgla never disappoint and never fail to offer the boring and worthless gig. The melodic, but eerie blackish hymns got spread out around the festival area. This band doesn’t need to flatter anyone, just letting the music flow.
Carpathian Forest had the privilege to conclude the Steelfest of 2016. The band’s leader Nattefrost is the only original member remaining in the line-up, however it gotta be pointed out Carpathin Forest is entirely his masterplan. As for the other guys, obviously the whole line-up has got revamped during the past few years. Even though the band hasn’t released any recent stuff during the last ten years, but they do have the massive fanatical cult following in the black metal scene. Nattefrost definitely has the eccentric sense of humour while being on the stage as having weird looking suspenders and kissing plastic cloth dolls. Carpathian, well Nattefrost with the back up black metal forces offered a funny, but still the true sounding Norwegian black metal.
Steelfest was again a great success for sure. The organization was seriously thinking of calling its quits as the festival had faced unexpected problems from fundamental people. Fortunately, the festival was arranged this year and will definitely be arranged in the next year. The roster of the festival will offer a wide range of extreme metal, having a little bit propagandist attitude as well. For those ones interested in attending the fest, keep your eyes on their official website and facebook to find out bands. Travelling to the festival is absolutely easy as it is about 45 minutes from the airport of Helsinki. Looking forward to Steelfest 2018!